Filtering God’s Voice: A Three-Question Approach
How do you know if it’s God speaking to you, the enemy speaking to you, or maybe it’s the bean burrito you ate for dinner last night?! To help you discover God’s voice in the midst of many voices in this world, I want to introduce three essential questions that can help you form a “Voice of God” filter. And, to give credit where credit is due, I first learned these questions from Pastor Chris Hodges at The Church of the Highlands:
The first question, is in my opinion, the most important, though the other two are still very important:
- Does the Bible Agree?
Understanding the Bible is crucial. Shockingly, research reveals that only 19% of Christians read their Bibles regularly. God’s voice is most clearly heard through His Word. His will and voice will never contradict His Word. Luke 21:33 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Truth never changes. God will never tell you to violate a principle that He’s already given you. Opinions can change. Even scientific facts have been known to change. But God’s truth will never change.
To maintain a strong filter, cultivate a deep understanding of the Bible. If what you hear contradicts what you read in the scriptures, it is not God’s voice. So, in your own life, do you know God’s Word well enough that when someone else is preaching, speaking, or writing, you can easily discern if it’s true or not. Here’s the reality: even the devil knows God’s Word, and he uses it in Matthew 4 to try to stump Jesus. If the devil did this with Jesus, you better believe he’ll try this with you.
- Does Godly Counsel Agree?
Godly counsel is essential. I love the words of Proverbs 24:6 that says it this way: Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers. However, not all who claim godliness provide counsel consistent with God’s truth. There are many people who say they believe in the Bible, yet their views, lifestyle, and advice don’t seem to match what the Bible teaches.
This, by the way, is why the church, and small groups, are very important. We are not called to do life alone. Ever. Ephesians 3:10 says, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known.”
It is imperative that the counsel we receive aligns with biblical principles and that we are seeking advice from those who walk in faith and reflect God’s wisdom in their lives.
- Do I Have Peace?
I’m grateful that we live in a real relationship with God where there is talking and listening. When the Spirit of God speaks, it does so by bringing peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33 emphasizes that God is not a God of confusion or disorder but of peace. Even when God’s voice challenges us, it will bring a deep-seated peace that transcends worldly understanding. If what you are hearing is leading you to more anxiety than it is peace, it is likely not the voice of God.
Reflect on your feelings – do you have peace or angst about a particular decision or direction? This inner peace serves as a powerful indicator that it could be God’s voice.
Closing Thoughts: What if I still don’t know?
John 10:4-5, Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd. He says:
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
There are times when you can run what you are hearing through this filter, and still not be certain. This is when I become grateful that we have a God of grace, love, and second chances. Even if I misstep, I don’t need to fear. God still desires a relationship with you and me. No matter how many times we make mistakes, He still wants to speak and grow in relationship with us. And, as I grow in relationship with Him, I’ll recognize His voice all the more.
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